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Hidenori Iwasaki

Hidenori Iwasaki General Interests: Listening to Music, Arranging, Synthesizers
Instruments Played: Piano
Place of Residence: Tokyo
Joined Square: 1998
Official Web Site: Profile at Square Enix American Web Site


This biography was written by Chris exclusively for use at Square Enix Music Online. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission, as this is a violation of copyright.

Although little is currently known about him, Hidenori Iwasaki has succeeded in being perhaps Square's most successful synthesizer operator. He is also hailed by video game music fans as one of Square Enix's most promising composers and arrangers. Since joining Square in 1998, Iwasaki has worked alongside some of Square Enix's most popular composers, past and present, as a synthesizer operator. While synthesizer operating, he collaborated with Kenji Ito for Chocobo Racing, Junya Nakano for Another Mind and Threads of Fate (DewPrism), as well as Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi for Racing Lagoon and The Bouncer. Although Takeharu Ishimoto was responsible for the sheer majority of synthesizer operating in Vagrant Story, Hidenori Iwasaki worked with Hitoshi Sakimoto on one occasion during the synthesizer operating for the "Opening Movie."

During his early years, Iwasaki also made two remixes, though he was accredited under his nickname 'VAG40' for both. The first came in 1998, when he made the contribution of arranging Shimomura's "Across the View" for the Parasite Eve Remixes. This turned out to be a highly interesting electro-acoustic work that demonstrated Hidenori Iwasaki's abilities when it comes to diversity of instrumentation. The second came a year later and saw him create "Silent Joy Mix" for the Racing Lagoon Original Soundtrack. Here he adopted a 'new age' style, creating a slow-developing, electronically-oriented, fresh-sounding mix, which was a unique gem on the album. These certainly showed that he had potential as an arranger and it wasn't surprising that he was given much bigger arranging roles soon after.

His most famous partnership is certainly with friend Kumi Tanioka. This started after he was appointed with Hirosato Noda as a synthesizer operator for the score of Final Fantasy XI in 2002. Here, he worked a little alongside the composers Naoshi Mizuta and Nobuo Uematsu, but worked with Tanioka most prominently. He also made arrangements of Nobuo Uematsu's "Memoro de la S^tono," the main theme of Final Fantasy XI, which appeared on the bonus DVD for the Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack Limited Edition, and Tanioka's "Gustaberg," which has been highly acclaimed by fans since the release of the Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack. Tanioka and Iwasaki worked together again the following year to produce the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Original Soundtrack. Here, Iwasaki was not only responsible for the synthesizer operating of the whole score, but was also designated a track of his own to compose. This was entitled "Eternal Oath" and was a well-received ambient work that featured some successful use of rather abstract ancient instruments.

Hidenori Iwasaki's big break came in 2003 when he composed, arranged, and produced the score for the Front Mission 4 Plus 1st Original Soundtrack. The album's release was delayed to May 2004 due to DigiCube's bankruptcy. The first two discs (50 tracks) of this gargantual work comprises of original compositions for Front Mission 4. Ryo Yamazaki, who was the synthesizer operator for this Original Soundtrack, was designated eight tracks to produce for this part of the score while Iwasaki created the rest of it. The other two discs (47 tracks) consist of Iwasaki's arrangements of Noriko Matsueda's and Yôko Shimomura's score for Front Mission, which was released eight years earlier. These arrangements, together with a few original tracks, were intended for the remake of the game, to be known as Front Mission 1st, which was released on the PlayStation in 2003. Though those who witnessed Iwasaki's earlier works were excited about the score, it almost unanimously took the video game music community by storm.

Iwasaki's most recent role to date was participating in the live Star Onions concert during the Final Fantasy Chains of Promathia Special Night on 11 September, 2004. The Star Onions band originally comprised of Iwasaki and Kumi Tanioka on piano, Tsuyoshi Sekito on guitar, and Naoshi Mizuta on bass guitar. The concert featured six items, including "Gustaberg," and its live performance was featured as a bonus track on the Final Fantasy Chains of Promathia Original Soundtrack. The Star Onions reunited to create August 2005's Final Fantasy XI - Music from the Other Side of Vana'diel arranged album, though sadly Iwasaki did not join them and Tanioka was the only keyboardist.

Still, despite this disappointment, Iwasaki is known to be composing for Front Mission Online. So long as Hidenori Iwasaki retains his abilities to create atmosphere, manipulate timbres in a unique way, and make awesome battle themes, the score will be an outstanding success. Ryo Yamazaki will also be composing, hopefully taking a larger role, and Tsuyoshi Sekito will be arranging, presumably bringing rock to the Front Mission series for the first time. With this huge project and possibly Front Mission 5 ahead of him, the future looks bright for Mr. Iwasaki and it seems that the Square Enix managers realize what a talented individual he is, having seen him progress admirably from synthesizer operator, to remixer, to arranger, to composer.

List of Game Projects

Note: This list only includes games that the composer has actively worked on, so those games that feature reprises of the composer's work from older titles are not included.

Key: C = Composer, A = Arranger, P = Performer, S = Sound Programmer, E = Sound Effects, M = Synthesizer Operator

Year Game Role
Sony PlayStation
1998 Another Mind M
1999 Chocobo Racing M
1999 Threads of Fate (aka DewPrism) M
2000 Vagrant Story M
2000 Racing Lagoon M
2003 Front Mission 1st C+A
Sony PlayStation 2
2000 The Bouncer M
2002 Final Fantasy XI M+A
2002 Tetra Master (PlayOnline) M
2003 Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart M+A
2003 Front Mission 4 C+A
2005 Front Mission Online C+A
2002 Final Fantasy XI M+A
2002 Tetra Master (PlayOnline) C+A
2003 Final Fantasy XI Rise of the Zilart M+A
2005 Front Mission Online C+A
2005 Front Mission 5 ~Scars of the War~ C+A
Nintendo GameCube
2003 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles M+C

List of Albums

Original Scores

Arranged Albums

Other Albums

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